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SITE: ‘Somatization’ & Psych terms used as swear words
3. PERSONALITY DISORDERS (PDs) (cont.)
PDs describe categories of ‘damage’ in adults who have long-standing problems establishing deep, meaningful, positive relationships with others. These people often show unusual, rigid or extreme patterns of thought, emotional reactivity, &/or impulsive behavior that consistently lead to problems for them & others
● People with this mental/emotional dysfunction have a wounded core identity.
= At one extreme – some PD people assume they’re invulnerable & have a right to feel superior. They are insulated in their carefully built shell of defenses – and flatly deny having a wounded core
= However, most feel wrong, bad, not right, empty or simply ‘Not OK’ – in their basic sense of Self. The brain uses Self-concept as a guide for interpreting the world. How dysfunctional such people are depends on how intensely they act in self-defeating ways
Their sense of badness has a physical quality about it – it’s in their very bones or cells. They say they’ve always felt this way, that there was never a time where they felt OK, & they truly believe it. (C. ego state Post)
Transactional Analysis theory explains this sense of badness as coming from their WIC’s child parts (C1 or C0) – the most vulnerable aspects of personality. So their sense of badness is ego syntonic – meaning that it ‘makes sense’ to them on a gut level, with no inner conflict, as there are with neurotics. So the damage started very early, likely at birth (Co).
Using the Gestalt technique, if we visualize putting the Adult & Parents aspects of someone in 2 opposite chairs, & imagine the Inner Child between them, we ask “How do you feel about your IC?” Most people will have a fairly positive reaction. Instead, many PDs will say they hate their child – that it’s ugly, dirty, disgusting, full of needs ….. expressing the person’s ingrained sense of worthlessness (typical of many ACoAs!).
💚SIDEBAR: There is now a “Grand Unified Theory” of psychology (GUT) – the relationship between psychology & neuroscience …..which clearly defines the field, & how the field relates to other disciplines (like biology & sociology)….
The 4 parts that make up GUT are:
1) the Tree of Knowledge System // 2) the Justification Hypothesis
3) the Influence Matrix // 4) Behavioral Investment Theory (MORE….)
✥ Relational INFLUENCE Matrix
The Influence Matrix (IM) maps the dimensions on which people represent themselves in relationship to others.
It grew out of the Behavioral Investment Theory of social motivational & emotional processes, which is based on Attachment Theory.
The Matrix makes 2 main points:
a. Humans are motivated by the need to be loved, admired & respected
b. They are equally driven by the need to avoid loss – being rejected, criticized or ostracized
(Freud’s Pleasure-Pain principal)
The green ovals on the BLACK axis suggests that people have a mental/ emotional picture of how valuable different types of relationships are, & tend to approach or avoid them accordingly.
💗EXP: Having ‘HI relational value’ can come from accomplishing something really hard that other people admire or love you for
✥ Personality Disorder Star (these 2 CHARTS)
Karen Horney’s 3 main NEEDS – ways of relating to others – exactly parallel the IM dimensions (above): Power is used to move against, Love for moving toward & Freedom for moving away. This means that there are separate pathways to deciding relational value
HOWEVER – People with PDs consistently act in ways that reduce the relational value of themselves & others – making their behavior patterns self-defeating, which cause everyone so much distress
EXP: PDs are grouped by the direction of MOVING –
• Against = Narcissistic – being hyper-competitive, constantly needing to demonstrate superiority over others (Steve Jobs)
• Away = Schizoid – a fundamental detachment, with a lack of emotional connection & responsiveness to others
• Toward = Dependent – desperately fearing abandonment, submitting to the will of others to avoid rejection, creating a need to caretake others
The star shows how certain PDs are the opposites of other negative personality characteristics.
Cluster A people are extreme on the Freedom dimension of relating
Cluster B people are mainly selfish, competitive, manipulative & controlling
Cluster C people (especially Avoidant & Dependent PDs) are deeply concerned with affiliation – come here or go away – at any cost
Note that only 6 out of the 10 PDs are represented. The others tend to be combinations.
EXP: Borderlines (BPD) fluctuate between strong displays of dependency/ neediness followed by extreme displays of reactive hostility – described in”I hate you, don’t leave me” by Kreitman & Straus. They are less rigid than most PDs, with a weak or fragmented identity, & strong needs for all 3 (power, love & freedom), covering up a basically insecure Self (LO relational value).
NEXT: Personality Disorders (Part 4c)